Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Arizona's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 1

Cooper AllenAnalyst IISeptember 9, 2012

Seahawks vs. Cardinals: Arizona's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 1

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    In typical fashion, the Arizona Cardinals edged out a victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Dating back to last year, their last seven games have been decided by one score or less.

    The Cardinals had what seemed to be a pretty safe lead after Jay Feely kicked a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter. Leave it up to Arizona to keep it interesting, though.

    A combination of poor offensive line play, a solid Seattle pass rush and Leon Washington’s playmaking ability gave the Seahawks a 16-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

    Arizona would drive back and take the 20-16 lead that their defense would wind up holding on to.

    This game had a bit of everything. Timely offense, great defense and impactful special teams play. It is a treat to watch these two teams play, and this could be a candidate for game of the week.

    It wasn’t all great for Arizona, though. While there are a few players who should be put on notice, there are also a few things they will have to improve on heading into Week 2.

    Highlighted over the next few slides are the winners and losers from the Cardinals' Week 1 victory over Seattle.

Winner: Paris Lenon

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    When talking about the Arizona Cardinals defense, the names that usually come up are Adrian Wilson, Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and even Patrick Peterson.

    One man who stepped up big for them today, however, was 10-year veteran and captain Paris Lenon.

    The 34-year-old was all over the field in this one, recording nine tackles. He also got to the quarterback twice and recovered a fumble that led to a score.

    There was some talk of Stewart Bradley winning the starting job over Lenon during the preseason, but he certainly put that talk to rest today.

    He has been a great contributor for the Cardinals over the past two seasons and needs to keep it up if they want to be a top-10 defense in 2012.

Loser: Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams

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    The one thing that kept this game closer than it should have been was the lack of a run game. If I were to ask who the Cardinals' leading rusher was each week, the answer every single time should be either Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells.

    In this contest, however, Andre Roberts’ 15-yard run early on was enough to lead Arizona in rushing.

    Between Wells and Williams, the two combined for just 23 yards on 15 attempts (1.5 YPC) and LaRod Stephens-Howling was the only back to reach the end zone.

    Arizona will play both New England and Philadelphia over the next two weeks, and it is vital that these two players step up. If not, we should be seeing more of Stephens-Howling and William Powell come Week 4.  

Winner: Sam Acho

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    Just going by the stat sheet, Sam Acho did not have the best of games. He recorded only one tackle and did not record any sacks.

    That said, the game is not played on the stat sheet and the sophomore linebacker had a huge impact on the outcome.

    The 24-year-old was in the Seahawks' backfield all day and it was visibly bothering the offensive line. On multiple occasions, Seattle was called for false starts penalties because they were worried about Acho getting to the quarterback.

    He also laid a huge hit on Marshawn Lynch which resulted in a Paris Lenon fumble recovery.

    There are a lot of players in the NFL today who are worried about their statistical production. Sam Acho is not one of those players, and no matter what his stat line is, he is a guy that I would want on my team any day of the week.

Loser: John Skelton

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    In today’s game we saw almost the exact opposite of what we are used to seeing from John Skelton. Normally he starts slow and then lights it up in the fourth quarter. Today, however, he played fairly well in the first half and was awful in the second.

    Through two quarters he had not thrown an interception and he had the Cardinals up 10-3. In the second half, incompletions ruled their offense as it took them a while to even pick up a first down.

    The argument that the offensive line play was brutal in the second half is valid; however, there were a few occasions where he had time and just made poor throws.

    Please note that I had his name in mind for the “loser” section prior to the injury he sustained. Having to be carted off the field was just the icing on an awful tasting cake.

Winner: Kevin Kolb

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    Just when you start to think that Arizona has their quarterback situation figured out, another obstacle is thrown at them.

    Words cannot describe how important it was for Kevin Kolb to play as well as he did in place of the injured John Skelton.

    He was only in the game for one series but made the most of it, completing six of eight passes for 66 yards. The drive was capped off by a touchdown pass to Andre Roberts, which ended up being the game winner.

    This is not the way you want to get into a ballgame, but Kolb will now have the opportunity to shake his “bust” label.